Implementing problem-based learning in higher education in Asia: Challenges, strategies and effect

Philip Hallinger, Jiafang Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


During the past 30 years academic leaders have advocated for the adoption of 'pedagogies of engagement' in the hopes of increasing student involvement and retention, as well as learning outcomes in higher education. More recently, universities in Asia have joined this movement, despite barriers arising from cultural norms and teaching traditions that reify knowledge and reinforce status differentiation between teachers and students. This paper explores the implementation of problem-based learning (PBL), one pedagogy of engagement in higher education in Asia. The research presents a longitudinal, mixed-methods case study of PBL implementation at a graduate school of business in Thailand. The data, collected over a seven-year period, suggest that implementation of a PBL track in the college's management curriculum was successful when judged on a variety of academic staff and student indicators. Although the capacity to generalise case study findings are inherently limited, the statistical analyses suggest that PBL can exert a positive impact on instructional effectiveness in an East Asian context known for its reliance on traditional approaches to teaching and learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-285
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Curriculum change
  • Curriculum implementation
  • Higher education
  • Leadership
  • Organisational change
  • Problem-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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